As London Fashion Weekend draws to a close, it seems construction is still in the mood, getting huffy about shoe design, contemplating the female form and knocking back champagne. Back to reality, guys

If the shoe fits …

As leftfield as Zaha Hadid’s foray into shoe design is, it does rather suit her flamboyant reputation. Julian Hakes runs a relatively lower profile practice, yet he too has succumbed to the pull of the platform sole and is challenging La Hadid to a shoe-off. He’s made an impressive start, cattily deriding Hadid’s stilettos as “just so normal”. Hakes reassured me his creation is “a design solution as well as a fully operational shoe”. I’ll stick to brogues of course, but when the shoes hit the high street next year, it remains to be seen whether Hadid will be seen strutting in Hakes’ high heels.

House rules

The Haymills staff have been acquainting themselves with Vinci, the French company that bought them in August. I gather the workforce has been issued a colossal handbook on the ins and outs of life at the world’s biggest construction firm. One section, according to my source, stipulates how big the Vinci logo should appear compared with the Haymills brand – a thorny subject, I’d imagine. “I can’t tell you any more,” said the source, “I’ve only got to page four.” How many pages are there? “You don’t want to know,” he sighed.

A brief bout

If ever you wondered how Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, manages to find the time to be a dance critic and train the UK Olympic fencing team, his recent posting on Twitter suggests the answer may lie in shorter meetings. “British Fencing annual meeting lasted 23 minutes which is six more than last year!” he tweeted from his PD4BF account on 12 September. Perhaps there’s a lesson here for all of us …

In the alphabet soup

Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke raised a bizarre spectre while pondering the recession in a recent discussion with my colleague. There’s the “v” shape, where we bounce back quickly from the slump. Or the “w” (a double dip which plunges us back into recession after a short recovery before leading to a stronger recovery). There’s also the “L” (crash followed by no recovery), the “u” (sharp fall, slow recovery), and even the italic “i” shaped recession (sharp fall followed by a slight upturn). But for the internet age there is now the “www” recession, where we fall, rise a little and fall again, rise, fall … you get the picture. They tell me the internet is infinite, which doesn’t sound encouraging …

Bottoming out

Stephen Bayley is the Observer’s architecture critic and self-styled “second most intelligent man in the country”, but his latest book may cause you to question both descriptions. In Woman as Design he takes the female body as an object and decides he is just the man to give it a thorough critique. Strangely, the Observer hasn’t yet found space in its pages for him to puff his book as they did for his last, only marginally less ridiculous, effort: Life’s a Pitch.

My personal highlight in his latest, er, seminal text reads: “Unsurprisingly, we feel a deep ambiguity about the bottom.” It would appear that Bayley’s editors at the Observer are inclined to think of him in a similar way.

Push in case of emergency

Those who sailed in this year’s Little Britain seem have enjoyed the event’s recession-induced depleted numbers so much that there is talk of scaling it down the permanently from 250 to 150 boats, thereby making it an altogether more exclusive affair. Architect Lee Penson appears to be gearing up for it already, judging by the lavish dinner he threw for the reunion of the crew of his yacht Javelot 3 at the sumptuous Bob Bob Ricard restaurant in Soho. The ultimate touch, so I’m told, was a “champagne button”, that brings a waiter scurrying over to top up glasses of bubbly.